With prep finally underway for the show’s fifth season, my focus has shifted from this blog to the production. That said, I’m well aware that many of you check in here on a regular basis fully expecting a daily entry. Well, rather than disappoint anyone, it’s at times like these when I call on my friends to help pick up the slack. In this case, Cookie Monster and Baron Destruto who have been kind enough to drop in today and offer some dvd and movie reviews. But be warned – spoilers abound!

SNAKES ON A PLANE

Reviewed by Cookie Monster

Snakes on a Plane be good, old-fashioned fun popcorn movie. Minus fun. And not very good. Or old-fashioned. Also, no popcorn. Still, for movie dat make hardly any sense, it move along at brisk pace. What little story dere is about guy who taking flight from Hawaii to Los Anjelees to testify against mobster. But mobster find easy way to keep him from to testify. He put crateful of crazy poisonous snakes on plane! So simple, Cookie Monster surprised we don’t see dis happen more often. Airport security always checking shoes, but never checking innocent-looking crate of snakes. Something to tink about.

Anyway, halfway through flight door on snake crate blow open. At dis point, Cookie Monster tink “Hey, wait minute. If able to sneak bomb on board for to blow up crate door, why not just sneak bigger bomb on board for to blow up plane?” But Cookie Monster not film producer, so not have answer. Snakes get loose. Lots of people get bited. Some unlucky and die right away. Some lucky (aka – bigger stars) and hang around for a while. Snakes not only angry, but very spiteful. Sometimes bite, sometimes climb into people’s eyes and mouths, sometimes slither by in foreground of shot and wink at camera. People in business class more lucky because no snakes upstairs in deir section, but not so lucky later when riffraff finally reckon dey be better off not flying coach. Figuring dat out easy part. Figuring out how to climb stairs much, much harder. Staircase collapse and everyone fall down onto waiting snakes, making great case for why some people not cut out for first class travel. Luckily, FBI agent Samuel L. Jackson on board and he get in touch with “hardcore” snake expert played by actor who either make decision to play character sleepy-drunk or not bother to learn lines so look like he read dem off back of car headrest. Expert get anti-venom ready. Sam tell everyone to buckle up, den shoot out window. Plane decompress and snakes all sucked out (and presoomably land on unlucky picnickers and sunbathers). Sammy J. land plane. Phew! Nightmare over. Or is it? No because now dey make Snakes on a Train.

NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN

Reviewed by Baron Destructo

Has anyone else happened to notice the growing divide between critics and the general movie-going public? While the great unwashed make box office hits of the likes of Meet the Spartans and Enchanted, movie critics are heaping praise on cryptic and increasingly inaccessible films like There Will Be Blood and Michael Clayton. What has caused this increasingly widening rift? Is the general movie-going public really that much stupider than they were, oh, ten years ago? Baron Destructo would argue yes, yes they are. On the other hand, have the endless movie-watching demands of their jobs rendered critics so jaded and cynical that they’ll laud any movie for the mere act of breaking established filmic convention? Again, Baron Destructo would argue yes, yes they have.

No Country for Old Men is a brilliant three-quarters of a movie. Beautifully shot and wonderfully acted, it had me and the rest of the League of Aliens and Mutants for Evil on the edge of our Corinthian leather recliners. Javier Bardem’s portrayal of the dispassionately ruthless killer Anton Chigurh is chilling and more than a little reminiscent of a young Count Sinister. Yet, for some reason, the film ultimately eschews its taut, suspenseful narrative to – a) kill off the protagonist off-screen, and b) continue along matter-of-factly some twenty minutes past it’s dramatically satisfying conclusion. The Baron would argue that there is a good reason the three-act structure has become so entrenched as a way of telling a story on the big screen. BECAUSE IT WORKS! While the Baron won’t go so far as to say it’s a hard and fast rule that should never be broken, he will argue that there should be a good reason for doing so. And the breaking of tradition for the simple sake of being different is not so much a statement as it is an affected FU to the audience.

Of course, like most associations, the League of Aliens and Mutants for Evil boasts its fair share of pseudo-intellecti and preening cognoscenti, and they have been quick to disagree with the Baron…

“But the Josh Brolin character wasn’t the protagonist,”argues the Malevolater. “The Sheriff played by Tommy Lee Jones shares in this role, so the decision to dispatch of Josh’s character off-screen and about a half an hour before the final credits is a sound one.”

– “Your cervo implants must be messing up your synaptic plasticity,”the Baron counters. “A film’s protagonist is it’s hero, the character driving the action. The Tommy Lee Jones character, on the other hand, was a passive entity, a commentator/philosopher more akin to Ancient Greek drama’s Chorus. To suggest otherwise is ridiculous.”

“But that’s the way it happened in the book!”argues the Malevolater.

– “So what?”is the Baron’s response. “Perhaps the most important aspect of adapting a book to the big screen is in translating the written word to the visual medium, giving the source material life within the filmic framework. The book and the movie are separate entities and should be appreciated as such. ”

In the end, the Baron doesn’t mind the odd artistic peculiarities. In truth, he has attended more of Glaxnor the Miscreant’s performance art shows than he would care to admit to. But, again, it must make sense within the framework of the movie. Take the Sheriff’s post-shooting visit to the motel room. He stands outside, anxious, perhaps a little fearful. We cut inside to reveal the Chigurh character inside, seemingly waiting for him. Eventually, the Sheriff heads inside and – Chigurh is not there. What happened? Did he dislocate his skeletal structure and slip out through the air conditioning vent like the Purple Lamprey escaping the clutches of Justice Incorporated as Princess Arcana suggested? No. According to the actor who played Chigurh, his character was never in the room. “It was a manifestation of the Sheriff’s fear,”explained the Malevolater. To which the Baron counters: “Is your adreno-serum screwing with your basal ganglia? How the hell can he possibly imagine someone he has never met before?”

What made this experience so frustrating for the Baron was the fact that No Country for Old Men IS a truly great movie up to a certain point, and then it seemingly ceases to care – about its characters, its audience, and what has come before. The Baron is reminded of the incredibly unsatisfying conclusion to The Sopranos and how faux wunderkinds tripped all over one another to celebrate its out-of-the-box finale, meticulously deciphering supposed clues in the narrative – hidden symbols, turns of the phrase – that, in their minds, presented irrefutable evidence that Tony Sopranos had been killed off at series’ end. Painstakingly conceived theories that were, in the end, completely upended when show creator/finale writer David Chase revealed that – No, Tony Sopranos was, in fact, not dead.

Fie! The Baron yearns for the day when the broad chasm between the cinema dilettante and the masses of mouth-breathers is finally bridged. When we can all unite in our adoration of movies like Braveheart and The Silence of the Lambs. When he can spend a peaceful movie night with his fellow megalomaniacal mates without having to resort to his fire gauntlets to get the Malevolater to shut the hell up! Is it really so much to ask?

Today’s entry is dedicated to Rachel and our friends in the Southern U.S.

Today’s mailbag –

Narellefromaus writes: “I’ve decided to read another Iain Banks novel. You recommend both The Player of Games and Use of Weapons. Do you have a preference of one over the other?”

Answer: They’re both excellent – but I would lean toward Player of Games.

Thornyrose writes: “You’ve indicated McGillion is onboard for 5 episodes. Do you already have outlines for those stories, or are you planning to write the scripts now that you know you have the character?”

Answer: One of Beckett’s appearances has already been scripted. Another two have been outlined and about to be written. And, at this point, we have a vague idea for two more.

Karen writes: “Can you reassure us that Zelenka will be back?”

Answer: Yes, rest assured Zelenka will be back for the show‘s fifth season. As will Lorne.

JoJoB writes: “Oh, and another point about Keller, not everyone who skips grades and graduates early has a miserable childhood. I skipped two grades and graduated high school at 16 1/2. I had no “fitting in” problems. I went to dances, to my prom, was in the marching band, the chorus, played sports and was a normal high schooler. The only problem I had was that I was the only senior who had to take the bus to school since the driving age in New Jersey is 17. I had to live on campus my freshman year of college since I still wasn’t old enough to drive. My experiences didn’t ostracize me. I married my college sweetheart, we have a beautiful daughter and just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary. I have a successful career, too.”

Answer: Congratulations to you. However, I’m sure it’s remotely possible that others have had very different experiences.

Kate writes: “Only letting through the good stuff, hey Joe?”

Answer: Actually, if you’d bothered to read through the preceding comments, you would have noticed there’s a good mix of opinion here. I just have zero tolerance for obnoxious posters. But I’ll make an exception in your case.

Kate also writes: “…you got rid of Elizabeth because she wasn’t leadership material because Atlantis was at war, right, and you needed someone military.”

Answer: I believe you’re confusing the behind-the-scenes decision on the character and the ensuing in-show explanation for the change.

Kate also writes: “You may as well rename the show “Stargate: Crybabies”.”

Answer: I think that would be a far more appropriate title for your comment.

Kate also writes: “The decisons to get rid of Beckett and Weir, the decisions to switch to Carter and Keller, and now the decision to bring in Woolsey as a leader — […] — will go down in scifi history as some of the dumbest things ever done.”

Answer: I don’t know. It’s gonna be tough to up-end those ewoks from the top spot.

Kate also writes: “You need your head read.”

Answer: You mean like phrenology? Please. I don’t buy into that antiquated mumbo jumbo, preferring instead the far more grounded practices of galvanism and moxibustion.

Kate also writes: “If you haven’t even spoken to Torri, or decided how many episodes you want her for, isn’t it a little presumptuous to be telling fans she’ll be back?”

Answer: Not necessarily.

Ascended Tauri writes: “Will we see the Wraith worshiper that escaped at the end of ‘Reunion’ return this season, or in Season 5?”

Answer: We’ll be seeing Tyre (played by Mark Dacascos) in season 5’s Broken Ties.

Jenn writes: “ Will the focus of the show still be on the team (i.e. Sheppard, Teyla, Ronon and McKay) in season 5?”

Answer: Yes, both as a team and as individuals.

Kamilla writes: “I was wondering who wrote these last episodes of season four?”

Answer: Midway – Carl Binder, Trio – Martin Gero, Kindred I – Joseph Mallozzi, Kindred II – Alan McCullough, The Last Man – Paul Mullie.

Fargate writes: “Do you consider Mrs Claudia Black to play Porter’s character?”

Answer: Nope.

Khyrra writes: “In regards to Sheppard knowing McKay’s password in “Quarantine”: did we ever actually see Rodney tell John the code? It seems like I remember such a scene, but no one on the SciFi Channel board can find it(several of us have been scanning transcripts). Are we all crazy, or did it happen offscreen?”

Answer: I’m sorry to say that, yes, you are crazy.

Ernie writes: “I have a question as I was watching some of SG-1 Seasons. I noticed a lot of the episodes are labeled with the actors as Executive Producers or writers. Like RDA as Executive Producer and Christopher Judge as writer. Is this something that the actors wanted to do to help their career or something fun for them?”

Answer: Rick started on the show as an executive producer. As for Chris, he always expressed an interest in writing an episode and eventually did – The Changeling. He went on to write several more and is presently shopping a pilot he wrote – Rage of Angels. I think writing is definitely something Chris enjoys, although I think you’d have to ask him for the details.

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Jon K.
Jon K.

“Answer: I don’t know. It’s gonna be tough to up-end those ewoks from the top spot.”

Really you rank ewoks over Jar Jar Binks? Any Chance we will be seeing the Travelers in season 5, most notably Larrin?

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

“I don’t know. It’s gonna be tough to up-end those ewoks from the top spot.”

Are you kidding? I love the ewoks!! They’re great!!

amac251
amac251

Joe,
I admire the way you handle some of the more “annoying” comments here. I am a teacher who, at times, receives ridiculous and annoying letters from parents. I’m wondering if I could hire YOU to respond to them!

bfrsff03

Hey Joe! thanks for thinking of all us southerners!! We had a little bit of damage to our house/roof but everyone was safe so alls well that ends well!!! I still think seeing a “form” of us on Atlantis is a GREAT idea!!!! thanks for listening!!!
~Kimberlee

Lorr54
Lorr54

I see you mentioned that Mark Dacascos will return in seadon 5. Has he asked you yet to be a judge on Iron Chef America?

josh
josh

I think that Woolsey will be funny to see as C.O.
Not so much as “the team hates him. Sucked In.” but more as funny comments the team will make to one another about him. It’s like Sheppard liking Ellis, and McKay disliking him(Is that an understatement?). McKay was like “really?.”

The one thing I want if you are going to have Woolsey in there is BANTER. Write a few comically ironic scenes. Sort of like how McKay felt annoyed and squirmish in McKay and Mrs. Miller. (Mess hall scenes in particular.)

riley

Hi Joe,

My flatmate is camera assistant on Australia’s top crime show, and has started racking up the work hours since shooting started this week (heading off at 7am, arriving home closer to 11pm). As one of the Exec Producers, do you have to pull those kinds of hours during production too? Or do you get to work a more civilised week?

riley

PS: Woolsey? Nice choice. Looking forward to it.

Jen
Jen

JM, this is a little late but a special thanks to whomever for the five episodes next season with Dr. Beckett. Our household really missed seeing him this season. (But that doesn’t mean we’re on the Keller hate list. You’ve got her holding her own and making her own space.) Oh, and having Woolsey in charge of Atlantis next season is a great idea. I guess that’s two things to look forward to. Kudos!
NJ

Purp
Purp

** Kate also writes: “The decisons to get rid of Beckett and Weir, the decisions to switch to Carter and Keller, and now the decision to bring in Woolsey as a leader — […] — will go down in scifi history as some of the dumbest things ever done.” **

It doesn’t really matter at this point, nothing in the history of television or Science fiction will ever top the canceling of Firefly.

And second behind that would be airing Firefly out of order in the first place.

So everyone else is competing for third place. Although Atlantis won’t be it. (As long as they don’t write an episode where McKay somehow gets impregnated with an alien baby)

josh
josh

I always felt that Sheppard’s vision in Progeny was like…a sudden and panultimate doom for the Atlantis team. If the show goes under I want an ending like that.

One in which Sheppard shows his true leadership skills. Even though it is a bit ‘drone-slinger’ of him. Because his persona was ‘I’m going to the chair room. And I’m going to take care of these guys.’

season 2.siege 3. “I’m sick of this.”

Shawna
Shawna

Ah, Snakes on a Plane. I remember all the buzz before that came out. And then it came out and people realized it really just wasn’t good at all, and the buzz immediately fizzled. And then, at some point, the second round of fun started:

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While the great unwashed make box office hits of the likes of Meet the Spartans and Enchanted

Oh, please don’t tell me you’re likening Enchanted to Meet the Spartans. Enchanted was cute and sweet, while Meet the Spartans is clearly just crude and unfunny (but considering who made it, that’s to be expected).

In reaction to one of the comments you answered…it annoys me when people assume that when you present one type of person, that you’re creating a stereotype for what you think everyone that fits into that category to be. In this case, that kids who are smart enough to skip grads suffer socially. Or that just because a show/book may happen to have only one female character, or black character, or whatever, that you’re stereotyping and that you think all women/blacks/whatever are whatever that character is. It’s irritating. Like a character can’t be an individual, even if they’re the only representative of their gender/race/occupation/religion/etc. present.

Thornyrose
Thornyrose

Fair warning taken on the fact that you’ll be giving priority to other matters than this blog. Knowing that those priorities will mean future teasers and photos makes the idea of a cutback in our daily dosage of bloggery tolerable. Cookie Monster and Baron Destructo seem competent to handle matters in your absence…
Thanks for the mailbag. Oh my, the ewok thing…too incredibly funny. Though I vaguely recall a Star Wars tv special involving the wookies that hits worst of both tv and sci fi.
Um, a red faced apology is also in order. It seems that you incurred some expenses when I shipped you a couple of books. I’ll be happy to make amends. I’ve worked up a way around customs issues(though my undertsanding at the time of shipping was that there should not have been any charges). I leave it to your discretion on how I might correct my oversight.

NCC-72452
NCC-72452

Hi Joe,

When you say “story in place” regarding Weir, does this mean 1 episode? 2.71828 episodes? 3.14159 episodes? Also, did Robert Picardo and Jewel Staite’s relative star power in the world of sci-fi influence your decision to bring them on?

~Derek

NZNeep
NZNeep

I spent a crazy amount of money on chocolate today… I got a really dark chocolate hot chocolate, and some individual chocolates.

Tequila, lime and salt
Ginger and Wasabi
Lime dark chocolate truffle
Chilli bitter

I haven’t decided what order I will eat them.

You are bad for me, Joe.

sari
sari

I’m excited to see Woolsey on Atlantis! Robert Picardo is a great actor, and I love how he plays Woolsey. I imagine his taking command of Atlantis and his command style will make for some good drama and funny moments. Can’t wait for season 5! And Beckett’s back…cool!

Patricia
Patricia

Way to go Joe…
I loved the reviews. They made me giggle a lot. I love your humorous antics. And I think that if you needed to you could skip a day or two. I know most of us would totally understand that your job comes first and who knows if you don’t post every night, it might get some of these nay sayers to look else where to spew their diatribe and leave this blog for good! One can only hope. Have a great night!

One question:
Have you and Marty G. given any more thought to having a blog fan dinner at Fuel the week of April 3rd?

Best wishes for a moderately silent night and not seeing over 200 plus postings of opinions that most of do not want to read anyway… IMHO.

Patricia Lee

flyingdog147
flyingdog147

Happy Wednesday!

Two quick things…1) The comments seem very divided on Woolsey — while sad to see Carter go, I think Woolsey is a great choice. He must be a great character to explore from your perspective, and I look forward to it. 2) Is there a difference between “Special Guest Star” and “Special Guest”? (Referring, of course, to the press release wording.)

Have a great evening!

William
William

Speaking of Christopher Judge, is there any chance Teal’c will be stopping by to check in on Ronan in season five?

William

gollysunshine
gollysunshine

I didn’t find the ending to The Sopranos unsatisfying at all — in fact I found it a great ending, kind of a Lady and the Tiger type of ending. But then I didn’t particularly want Tony to die and yet I didn’t want him to get away either, so maybe that ambivalence fed my feeling that the ending was brilliant. Sorry to say that I found that ending for the Sopranos far more satisfying than I did “Unending” for my ten years of watching Stargate SG-1. Except for the final walk up the ramp — that was cool and very satisfying — but the time loop interim was pretty much rubbish to me.

To add to the conversation of early graduations causing ‘fitting in’ problems. Both my brother and I skipped grades — I graduated two months into 17 and my brother graduated at 16. I had no problems ‘fitting in’ either in class or into social situations as the youngest girl … but my brother had it much rougher when he was often too young to do what his peers (for example, on dates) were doing. Hence, he was always lying about his age and carrying phony IDs as a teenager, until he got old enough where it didn’t matter. In fact, there were many times I felt sorry for him and considered that skipping grades and graduating early was not the best thing. I even considered that if I had a son, I would refuse to let that happen to him.

Rebecca H
Rebecca H

I’d have to say, as far as Snakes on a Plane, Cookie Monster is a genius. I don’t know about No Country For Old Men, as I haven’t seen it yet, but I’ve been a fan of Tommy Lee Jones and Javier Bardem for a while (yes, I’ve seen Spanish movies on HBO). However, I’m willing to trust the Baron, even though I will eventually watch the movie and make my own determination as to its worth.

Has anyone else happened to notice the growing divide between critics and the general movie-going public?

For a good many years now, yes.

And may I say, without apple polishing, that the Baron and the Monster provide a better critical guide than do the overpaid sourpusses of Criticdom.

bugguy
bugguy

Hey Joe,
It’s my birthday on the 7th can I get the blog dedicated to me? Thanks

Rebecca H
Rebecca H

Sorry for the out of control italics. Wish we had edit capability.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth

Cool, Zelenka and Lorne will be in season five!

Actually, yeah, most of the time when you’re a grade or so ahead it’s normally pretty hard to fit in. I’m a year ahead (I did the fifth and sixth grade in the same year) and I’m going to college (at the same time as high school), so it’s a bit unusual. It’s kind of weird being the youngest person in a college class. Most of the people in the class are four or five years older than you and won’t have anything to do with you (my high school classes aren’t a problem, they’re all ISP (Independent Study Program)classes except for my Mythology class, which is with other ISP students anyways). Like in my engineering class last semester, I had to explain most of the material that we had to learn to the person I was doing a project with (which is always really strange). Actually, I like the Keller character more now that you guys wrote in the ‘kid genius, hard time fitting in’ backstory. She’s finally lost the ‘evil chipmunk’ nickname my sister and I gave her (’cause she looks kind of like a chipmunk, and she played a replicator in This Mortal Coil).

Please answer this question. Have you ever seen the Disney movie Atlantis: The Lost Empire? It’s a cartoon movie, I think it came out around 2000, and the lead character looks just like Daniel Jackson.

Kathleen
Kathleen

Although I share your disdain for the ewoks, might I point you to the 1978 Star Wars Holiday Special Featuring Bea Arthur, Art Carney, Miss Diahann Carroll, The Jefferson Starship and other wacky guests as the most insane travesty against sci fi ever committed? And yes, there is a drinking game. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asnVcbWQ2cg